Salinātā rudzu rupjmaize as shown by Rus Brot
I thought rather than wait to post the entire process of my first attempt to dive into thermophilic baking as shown by Rus Brot in his youtube videos, it might be useful to chronicle how it went along the way for this chosen bread, the Latvian national paradigmatic Salinātā rudzu rupjmaize. Success or failure, here we go.
To that end, I wanted to show how one can inexpensively set up a thermophilic controller and chamber for the process. I referred to this in another thread.
The Inkbird** has always served me well as an inexpensive plug and play means to control my various fermentations, whether it be in sake-making or affinage of Alpine cheeses. This is it in action, fermenting the first stage of this bread process, a thermophilic starter. The controller's probe is submersible. As I have it now, I've a rice cooker doing the heating, a small water bath, and the controller. The nice thing about a rice cooker is that it's warming function helps avoid heating overruns from an electric element turning on then off, controlled by the set temp parameter (and to some extend, the temperature differential parameter). It's a long ferment so even if your crock pot or soup warmer or what have you overruns by a degree or two, it won't make a difference. I set my target temp right about in the middle of the thermophilic range as shown by Rus Brot. You can see it's currently (-1F), and the rice cooker is on.
This particular model, the 308 (S), has a removable plug for the probe. Handy in case you want to insert a corrosion-resistant probe directly in your starter or other corrosive environment (which is what I used to do for my alpine cheeses).
I should add, if I had whey ready, I'd use that as well. Need to make up some quick chevre!
I've been running a very similar setup for 6-7 years now. Basic analog slow cooker is the heat source.
I only came across it searching for a better way to do these smaller wheels of meso-cheeses. But from there saw so many opportunities. As you might have guessed (lol - it has to be ridiculously apparent), I'm not technologically adept in any way but can understand things like this if I proceed slowly and get the logic. So very cool to buy components cheaply and build things of true utility like this.
Congenital wiring can be such a drag. Though I appreciate the material I was given to work with - the grass sure can be greener when I know folks like you have the minds you have!
Actually, I swiped the idea from the homebrewers, who've been using the same controller for lot longer than I do, except that they set it up for both heating and cooling and mine is strictly heating.
Yep. See above. Space often meant my converted "kegerators" were outdoors, in WI. Most times, an uninsulated garage, even an old barn.
First pic, racking dry-hopped beer to serving keg ale designed for my son's grad party (Very British IPA with some American background notes). Second and third pics, a self-designed "Yorkshire Square," a recirculating system of open fermentation as practiced still in traditional N. England breweries, at full krausen inside the refrigerator, This was dead of winter.
A small personal desk heater and the fridge itself plugged into the two-stage Inkbird I referenced is all I ever needed, 4-seasons.
What size slow cooker would be sufficient for bread dough? I don't usually make bread much larger than 1.5 kg; maybe a 4- or 5-qt?.
And do you use water as a heat transfer fluid in the cooker?
I'm still getting a handle on it but I don't think it's much of a problem because the thermophilic phase ends with "Pre-Dough I." After that it's all mesophilic ranges. Even Pre-Dough I, falling from 45-35C, I've thought might be done in my cooler with two instead of 1 germination mats (or, a higher-watt matt, more likely). I think all the stages up through this pre-dough would fit easily in this small rice cooker, so I'd think sure your sizing would work great.
My slow cooker is a basic oval HamiltonBeach, probably 4 qt, but I never use it for the dough itself, only for scalds, and some sours. My rye are typically fast-fermenting, and I find that if need to maintain elevated dough temperature I can do it by other, more traditional means. As to the medium, yes, it is filled with water, and the airtight bowl with whatever is fermenting is floating in it.
Sorry, yes,alcophile, floating in a water bath, same as suave's.
I've got 24 hrs to figure it out, but we can't find our soup warmer from our former restaurant (we actually had two). Our slow cooker has timer settings and it seems to be a major deal-breaker for tomorrow's scald and saccharification. I have tried to set it to "warm" and it still shuts off, then bounces over to "power" with a fixed time. Bummer.
I'll have to cool the starter tomorrow for sure, now, as I'll need that rice cooker for not only the sourdough, but the "old dough", which at one part runs concurrently. Doubt there will be the room.
That's why I sought out a dumb all-analog model that can run 365/24/7
Good call! Frustrating to have misplaced the soup warmer(s), because those things perform perfectly.
Do you do thermophilic fermentations, suave?
No, not really. I know how, and I can, but I don't want to. I know that I can and that's good enough for me. You see, the whole thing is a continuous process and is really best suited for the industrial environment. This is how it works in practice: you have a tank with thermophilic starter, single species, lactic fermentation only. Every 4 hours you drain exactly half of it and replenish it with fresh scald. The drained part is transferred to a different tank running at lower temperature, where you do yeast-only fermentation. Every 4 hours you drain half of it into the dough mixer. So every 4 hours you have a new, let's say 500 lb, batch of scald, a 500 lb batch of soured scald, and a 500 lb batch of soured/yeasted scald. You can replicate it at home, but you either have to take liberties - use separate starter and yeast in fermentation, or run a preliminary fermentation cycle. I have the schedules and the numbers for that worked out, but I just ... don't want to. And why would I, when I can make a superb bread without all that mess?
Perfect answer. I understand completely. There are imperfect analogues in the brewing industry (and cheese industry, for that matter), but I get it. Thanks.
-got rid of this nightmare visual. Trying again, if only to say I tried it, and will post as it comes.
Well, in the midst of round II. Going reasonably well. I doubt I'll ever do these again, unless the gods conspire to give me a Miele or something. Using water baths to manage all the precise steps is not easy.
The following is not in any way intended as a personal slam, or an attempt to light a fire in any way. I'd ask that these statements please just be evaluated as my honest opinions about the work, with nothing personal to Rus (who hasg given incredibly generously, and is valued by so many people).
To the point of the complexity: this bread is the most complex series of steps I could ever conceive. Looking at several of the other Rus Brot recipes, the thermophilics at least, they are all of a kind in terms of tight precision on temps and time. My read of Rus is that these are supposed to be a very old approach to baking, almost atavistic, the home traditions of ancient Russian ways; until foreigners invaded with their rather "amateur" SD and other methods (I'm merely quoting him).
He's entitled to his opinion, of course, but there is no way I can accept this is somehow an "old" method, at least insofar as his recipes are very tightly prescribed. The only place these can be replicated, it seems to me, is in a manufacturing setting. I've had some discussions with some folks about this, so any understanding I have has been fed by their expertise, as this is all new to me. But on its face, I cannot buy this is pure, traditional, Russian baking. Rus did tell me these are derived from Soviet-era, official standards as prescribed by scientists and so forth. Which makes sense but again, not home baking (he was rather derisory to certain American and Australian bakers, which I found simply ill-founded. Again, entitled to his opinion but I disagree with his conclusions).
I would love to be proven wrong - I really would - because I find this a fascinating area of baking that I'm sure produces extraordinary results - with the right equipment, equipment most households simply don't and won't ever possess.
One thing does occur to me. Has anyone thought of a beta-glucans rest during the mashing process, to untangle some of the gums formed (prior, and) during the saccharification? My temps were off and what I thought was mashing at 149 was by the end of it, 160. What I would call mash-out temp, as all amylases would be completely denatured at that temp. That said, it doesn't take 3 hours to convert a typical brewing mash but then this is (loose) bread dough and I know nothing about these dynamics. When I asked him about a higher temp, into a-amylase optima, he said avoid it, the dextrins lead to "gumminess".
Which is what leads me to this question of a beta-glucans rest before heading on to the amylase ranges.
Most of his recipe are most certainly not Russian (or other) traditional home-baking recipes. They are indeed mostly based on GOST instructions or other reputable sources (in particular the "350 varieties of baked goods" (or however it's translated into English) by Khlebnikov & Kolesnikov) for professional bakers. These recipes are of course in turn are rooted in the Russian tradition, but again, of professional baking, and also standardized and modernized. He adapts them to home conditions. It is indeed his strong opinion that following strict standardized protocols ensures consistent high quality of the products. He also insists, that (1) traditional home baking, while used simpler recipes, still relied on tight time and temperature control through sheer experience of baking bread in the same place over many years, and even generations (and relying on the Russian stove to maintain the right temperature), (2) the modern approach actually produces better and more consistent results than replicating ancient recipes, and if the goal is to bake delicious bread, using modern equipment and processes is very important. However, his other recipes are not necessarily complex at all. See the recent Ukrainian white bread I baked: single stage, quick fermentation with CY and CLAS, nothing fancy at all (and of course a delicious bread in the end).
Thermophilic baking is indeed extremely complex, and as suave explained above, much-much easier in a professional bakery set up to do this in a continuous process. Again, Rus adapts these recipes to home conditions, but the complexity of the process remains.
Also very interesting, the last two videos he posted (only in Russian, unfortunately) actually show what he believes to be a process based on Russian traditional peasant home baking. He shows how to make a rye starter (and bake first bread with it, all under 3 days from starting, fascinating!), and how to maintain it. Very interesting.
This is of course just my understanding of his approach and philosophy, and of course one can disagree with what he says! But I don't think anyone can argue with the results, that his recipes produce great bread.
Interesting, thanks Ilya. I am undeniably fascinated and am still with him. Incredible stuff. I was thrown by some comments in his blog:
Etc. So perhaps I've misconstrued his intents unintentionally, but I was getting the sense that this body of work is somehow a return to an almost primordial, untouched, "pure" Russian approach to baking (EVERY culture has this notion of an almost mythic past, the "kernel" of nationhood that is somehow ineluctable. It's universal in the formation and sustenance of most nation-states. So I'm not calling out his political views (this was my field at Berkeley), just the practical implications as to traditional customs, and somehow a certain superiority, and a certain foreign influence, by "amateur" certain American and Australian baker/writers.
As an analogue to some of what you're saying: brewing today is extremely technical, as I'm sure you know. The labwork alone takes a specialist, even in a craft brewery; and brewing itself is massively messed with to produce today's tight targets.
Used to be, "as they say" anyway, that brewers used to know when to mash-in when they saw their face through the steam on the water, something, I forget. My point is, yes, they, too, had their ways of just 'knowing what works" by long-practice without so much as a thermometer in sight. But brewing then was simple as it gets. To claim this kvass-quick-starter method involving thermophilic fermentation was wide home practice well back in time - if I've understood him correctly - I just can't see it.
Have I understood his comments correctly? Thoughts?
As far as I understand the thermophilic know-how is actually not a Russian thing - that is a development of the Baltic bakers, which I think also spread out to Belarus, and perhaps other areas - I'm not sure exactly. So he certainly doesn't mean that Russian peasants were making bread that involved thermophilic fermentation! You brought this trouble upon yourself by choosing this super complex recipe :)
I am no expert on history of baking, but what he says makes sense to me, assuming the facts are correct. As he actually demonstrates in the last videos he uploaded, indeed making a rye starter based on kvass process works amazingly quickly, and that produces what seems like great simple whole rye bread (I haven't actually done all that, so can't say from experience). And assuming this knowledge existed "in the olden days", it sure seems like a good way to bake bread in those conditions (and certainly bread was one of the main foods back then, so I see his point about starving to death).
That said, most of his recipes are not based on this ancient process, but still the tradition of rye baking refined through the centuries is there, albeit the process evolved radically in a professional environment. At the same time, finding a bakery that makes rye bread in the western cultures, particularly outside Europe and some places with a lot of Eastern European immigrants, - not an easy task, is it? So there just isn't as much knowledge about this grain. That's not to say that there aren't masterful knowledgeable and innovative bakers who bake delicious rye bread, of course. And some bakers might spend some time in some countries with a rye tradition (e.g. Hamelman, in Germany), so of course simply discounting any recipes just because of their country of origin doesn't make sense.
My guess is, he studied a lot of Russian literature on baking, and feels it's underappreciated, even in Russia, and that causes some bitterness.
OK, thanks for the line of thinking in the post, Ilya, makes great sense to me and you laid it out really well, as you always do.
I'm truly interested in hearth lineage - my wife had, and I think still should follow it out, this notion of "hearth cooking," really, culinary familial lore, the world round; named, "Spoon in Hand," and it's a picture of her late Estonian grandma's heavy, gnarled, strong hand, grasping a spoon. You know it's a woman's hand. You know it's someone who has worked those hands. You just see those two things, and you immediately, viscerally get the connection.
So that's what really started to get me, seeing your & others' posts here. Sunk deeply into black earth and really made me want to learn from the Russian and Baltic perspective. It still grabs me.
Hamelman, in fact, was the American he derided. I thought it was ridiculous, and disabused him of any notion of "amateur," to be honest. I also hate that "amateur" is so often a pejorative, with its Latin amat- and amatore, love simply for the thing itself with no remunerative or other consideration, at play. But that's another story.
Aa an aside, some of my response to this notion of basically "broken translation" and a kind of hacked-up, ignorant (mis)-appropriation of traditions:
I responded in part:
Just a cautionary tale, and I'm not claiming authority - at all - just something I believe in all things, to respect authenticity from all peoples everywhere.
The level of anti-Americanism in Russia is mind-boggling. I mean they can probably spot Iran and the Fat Boy a few points in that regard. It's quite sad.
Very true, unfortunately, and the state propaganda is really not helping there...
I have a lot to say here and in several other spots in this thread, but it would delay my fishing outing for hours, and I want to cool down a bit. So, laters.
Looking forward to it, suave. Have a good outing and good luck! (means nothing from me. I am abjectly bad at fishing, but fwiw, best of luck!)
Here's the thing, no one knows for sure how it was. One reason for that is there were too many ways of doing thing. There are people who claim to be "experts" on traditional Russian cooking, but they are full of ****. Russian Empire was a huge country, populated by very different people living in very different conditions. Some lived in mild climate on some of the most fertile lands in the world, and some lived in places where even potatoes barely grow. Contrary to the popular belief not the whole country grew rye and lived on black bread. Another reason is that record keeping has never been all that great and the succession of evil regimes bent on world domination did not help any by precipitating huge population movement and thoroughly destroying traditions.
So, precious little is known, and what is known can not be extrapolated to the entire country. What is known is that in peasant areas rye bread was baked by a fairly simple method - a piece of dough was left in the kneading trough, where it would ripen and form the basis of the next batch. The rest would be subject to family traditions, housekeeper's ability, ingredient availability, and so on. My understanding is that in wheat-growing areas there multple ways of growing homemade yeast, I guess not unlike what we see with yeast waters and such.
In urban areas the situation was a little bit more complicated. Commercial baking using wheat flours was considered a skilled craft and bakers were organized in guilds. That did not include (my rough translation here) bagel and pretzel-making which were considered to be separate trades. Rye baking was generally not considered a skilled trade and done in corner stores. There're some vivid turn of the 20th century descriptions of it was done and they are not what I would call charitable or sympathetic. It is known for a fact that in St. Petersburg, a city of almost 2.5 million by then a proper bread baking plant was built in 1916. I can not tell oof hand if it was there, and I don't really want to spend time checking right now, but it kind of sound like it was.
So all that it is to say that when in late 1920-ies the Bolsheviks had dispensed with the NEP and started organizing industrial bread baking they had quite a few experienced bakers, but they were mostly craftsmen with only small bakery experience, and in early Soviet literature you can clearly see that they relied on foreign expertise quite a bit. I mean even in 1930-ies you see word like anfrisch used directly, without translation. And for the record, I see nothing wrong with it, whatsoever. In time of course they built up their own research and created their own school of baking, but they started from very little, as far as knowledge goes, and claims of it naturally flowing from the millennia of some folk tradition are tenuous, at best.
Now, thermophilic baking. As far as I can tell it is purely Soviet innovation. May be it's not, but none of the pre-war Latvian books that I've seen say a peep about it. The only thing I know for sure is that the oldest publicly available Soviet-era recipes were published in 1978, and refer to an older, 1972 publication. I mean, I know a person who knows a person, who might know who to ask or has access to contemporary trade literature, but I am pretty confident that brilliant as it is, it is a fairly recent development.
Thank you for such an exhaustive reply, suave. "Alien" in literally every sense - not knowing the language, the history, what I would call even the culinary anthropology, it's nigh impossible as an outsider what to regard as "authoritative." Speaking for myself I have to go on threads that can be pulled together from many angles. Doing so gives e great confidence in what you, mariana and some others here have to say on the subject, so, thanks - appreciate the generosity and clarity of your thoughts.
On "anti-Americanism." I've deeply held political views but I've more or less withdrawn from political life from a sense of despondency more than anything else. Having once lived in a zen and martial ways monastery, bread gives me that same simple succor - breaking it with whomever will sit with me at table, makes our needless strife so trivial and our shared humanity so palpably, keenly obvious. The world is in such pain in every way and it's the simplicity of bread, more and more, where I take comfort that there's hope. That, and the youth of today. It pains me deeply I've handed off to my son and his generation such a world, but I am heartened where I see currents of engagement that refuse to confuse what is, for what could be.
I will now insert foot in mouth by saying I was disappointed in Hamelman's Bread, but it is obvious Hamelman is definitely no amateur. The book is excellent as a pedagogical tool for both the professional and home baker but I'm not sure I will spend $60 for a copy. (I checked the book out from the library.)
I had hoped that more of the recipes were 100% whole grain for the nutritional benefits, but I'm sure the other breads are delicious. I was also hoping for a more varied selection of rye breads. The Detmolder process and Horst Bandel's Black Pumpernickel do look interesting and I will try them when I have more experience with rye. I did make the 70% Rye with a Rye Soaker and Whole-Wheat Flour and it is a good bread. But it seems that many of the rye recipes are similar with slight tweak. There are a lot of recipes in The Rye Baker and on Ginsberg's blog that I would like to explore that I assume reflect the character of the ethnic breads.
I hope I'm not banned for blasphemy! 😉
I don't actually have this book, but yesterday just before going to sleep I had this thought: perhaps, the book is also tailored to the average American (home) baker, who might not be so interested in complicated rye breads, for example, and that affects the variety of recipes and techniques, and causes some breads to get simplified. But it's just a guess.
I think you're right. I wonder, too, if it's the stuff I talk about in my post. The guy has spent a lifetime in professional baking. He certainly could have written a more extensive recipe book, or a book more loaded with science. I think it's for the beginning to intermediate baker both, who can take different things from the same text.
Not the best book out there. But there's one book close by - well, two - the radically torn up "working version" and a pristine book in my bedside bookshelf, that I turn to with a bit of reverence when looking around for a dependably great bread to bake.
The book is seemingly being positioned by Wiley as a text, hence textbook-level price, and availability of instructor evaluation copies. It was not originally aimed at home baker, but instead at craftsmen, which is why it provides medium-large scale recipes and streamlines certain things. Nevertheless, many home bakers continously found it to be challenging, and early editions in particular faced multiple complaints of not being folksy enough.
Yes. I seem to recall Peter himself rather embarrassed at the price Wiley was setting, but it's entirely out of his hands.
I should clarify. When I said, "not the best book out there" I should have said, "not the best recipe book" and "not the best methods book," but is "a masterful blend of methods and recipes used to illustrate those methods." IN other words, there are more exhaustive recipe books, more exhaustive science texts, more exhaustive methods and practice books - but I find it a fantastic, working text of practical baking skill. It's my most-referred to book.
Hahahaha - well, you're safe from this dude, alcophile. No Baker's Inquisition here, lol.
I think your comments are fair. I've felt the same thing and there are better books for different ends. In fact, one of the best books I've found in English is The Bread Builders, oddly enough. For a book devoted to the making and using of Allen Scott-style masonry ovens, it spends half the book really going into all things bread science and practice. Daniel Wing, who co-wrote the book (and handled the chapters on bread science and practice), is a physician and biologist. He just long ago got the good-bread hook and found his way in life to Allen Scott. A tremendous book, one of my favorites.
The other book I'd recommend as a "serious" book on the science and making of good bread is Professor Raymond Calvel's The Taste of Bread or Le Gout de Pain. Many, many bakers have found their way through the professor's work.
Hamelman was my first real book, when I wanted to learn to make good bread. I'd baked from very young but it had been decades away, though I was a French chef by training and experience. To me, it was a wonder. It's not fully a recipe book - as you say, there are a relative dearth of recipes, including rye (one of Rus's critiques - it's a "simple" book; my sense is it became very popular in Russia and Rus said they have "these types" of books with "300 or more recipes!"), and it's not fully a science book by any means, obviously.
And I wish there were things better explained as to why he might be tweaking this or that for the results described in his opening notes. Still, a couple things:
1. I find the recipes rock-solid. Every one I've made from the book has produced an excellent bread - even in my stumbling through in my earlier attempts. I find myself returning to it again and again. Just baked two "Vermont Sourdoughs" last night, as a matter of fact (along with two Rubaud pains au levains, two 1-2-3 SD's with new rye starter to test the starter, off an excellent idea by mini-oven, and finally, midway through this bread. In a "we'll see what obtains" phase).
2. What read like "why is he merely tweaking his ryes from 90-80-70,?" etc. Permit me a brief story.
In my younger, actor days, I once played the lead in the world premiere of a new play by the late, great American actor Ossie Davis. The play was Sybil, opening night was a success, and backstage (my knees shaking because Mr. Davis and Ruby Dee, his wife, were titans of courage and artistry whom I'd long looked up to) he and Ruby were waiting to greet us. In that low, rumbling voice of his, he leaned in and said, "thank you for doing such a fine job with my play, young man." I broke, of course. You've no idea what such a commendation from such a person meant to this young, hard-working, deeply driven actor.
He said at some point close after: "You've got fire shooting out everywhere. That's OK, it's what you're supposed to do. Later, you learn, to be a good steward of your energy. You find your line and you refine simplicity." He went on, but that's the relevant bit.
Refine simplicity. It stayed with me regardless of whatever forks in whatever roads I took ever since. As a chef I learned more and more, what can be taken off the plate and what can be taken from this or that stock or sauce, etc. One or two flavors, finely honed.
I think it's the same here. The recipes aren't mere laziness or some lack of creativity. They force us to slow down and get it in our senses what these simple ingredients - the grain wheat or rye, tiny adjustments in either, an old soaker, etc. - what little changes can mete out such different breads. I think once you accept that, you find the book is more than what's immediately on its face. Ilya is right - it is largely for a home audience who will find the book immediately accessible; but I think it's also for the more experienced baker, to get her to slow down and consider "the thing itself."
Finding the book not one's cup of tea is great; calling the guy who led the 1996 USA team to the win at the World Cup of Baking (Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, Paris, France), as I learned from someone I greatly respect - calling the guy an amateur who doesn't know his stuff worth a hill of beans - well, dude's no slouch.
I can see Hamelman's logic in many of the rye recipes. In this respect, I view the book like a lab text (and it’s priced accordingly!) with experiments (recipes) that demonstrate certain principles and techniques. The three Detmolder ryes will show the baker the differences in behavior of the dough and the final bread resulting from varying rye content. Likewise, his series of 65% ryes with rye sourdough, white levain, and no pre-fermented flour demonstrate the effect of the type of sourdough on the dough/bread. Those are good lessons to learn for any baker, especially for the professional. However, I don't have a white levain and I don't plan on preparing one as I want to focus on rye and whole grain breads; I only want to maintain one for now—a rye sour culture.
Hamelman's personal sourdough culture is stiff rye at 85% hydration. It lives on the kitchen counter and is fed once a day in the morning: 10-grams rye culture, 17-grams water and 20-grams whole rye flour. He only maintains one culture, and when he requires a white levain he converts some rye culture over two to three feeds. I have adopted this method months ago and my levains are extremely active and strong.
That's great to know, Gavin, thanks. I recalled somewhere in the book something alluding to what I would have seen in Rubaud, I think it was, as "mass effect," so good to know he has no issue maintaining such small amounts daily.
All good. Just an FYI but a used copy of the edition I have is available for $20, shipped. I know Hamelman himself came on and mentioned he wished the book was selling for less. I believe that's all publisher.
Also, through a happy accident, I was wondering whether I should go ahead and bake with a brand new rye starter, which at 5 days was screaming, or continue to wait until it was more mature - i.e., by the literal book. Mini-oven counseled me well and said, go for it. I did, making a 1-2-3 SD with BF & T110, and the result was a winner. In fact, one of my favorite breads so far - so much so, I'm wondering if for many of my wheat breads, this rye starter would be a net positive.
The other thing, like Gavin says, it's easy to just switch up to another flour. Doesn't take long. I used to maintain 3 starters - a liquid and stiff wheat and a liquid rye, so I get it.
BTW - can someone give me the ingredients/processes for the "slip" painting of the dough before the bake, and the glazing, think it's cornstarch(?), after the bake? I saw that Rus cuts some slight V-"tranches" from his finished dough, prior to rolling it up. Seems like this dough is used with water to paint a "slip" coating, just before the bake? Specifics on this and the post-baking glazing?
If you mean the dough paste before baking, that's 30g dough taken before shaping the final bread, mixed with 25g water.
For the cornstarch glaze, I've seen discussions here elsewhere for exact measurements, but I always eyeball it: just like a teaspoon of cornstarch, some water, heat up while whisking until thickens.
Thanks Ilya. We're at that point. I have to say, tasting the raw dough - if it pans out anything like it - it's fantastic.. The depth of flavor goes on and on and there's such a beautiful blend of earthiness, sweetness - I'm talking about the grain sweetness, not the sugar - the pronounced but wonderfully-flavored sour. Fingers crossed and I doubt I'll get anywhere close on the beauty of his loaf, but I'm eager.
How long to "rest" these breads before busting into them?
-and I can't tell what he's lining his banneton linen with. It looks like nothing, or very light flour, if at all. Comes right out so it works, whatever it is. Do you know?
Sounds great! I hope the bread is worth the effort!
Check his video, he probably says how long to rest. I'd guess at least overnight.
He just uses a regular kitchen towel, and probably sprinkles whole rye flour on it. I'd guess he uses the same flour as used in the recipe, at least that's what he uses for shaping... But a well fermented rye dough after it's shaped and coated with some flour from that just isn't sticky. You can see he pushes it down with his hands into the proving basket, and his hands are clean. I've never had any dough from his recipes stick while final proving.
Lol, yeah, well.....
Miles to go before I sleep. Cracked crust, moderately gummy crumb. The problem I see is that with so many variables, it's difficult for me to know where I went wrong (I'm sure on many steps. Temp control was difficult, given the water bath's tendency for wider differentials than are probably optimal). In particular, I'll bet my overall mash saw too much time at a higher temp, into the a-amylase optima, and from what Rus said, dextrins are not pleasant in this brea (maybe all breads, or at least all breads in this family).
The taste is OK, but relative to the promise of the raw dough, Ehh. Too sweet for me, and the balancing sour that was really evident earlier on, was almost entirely effaced away in the finished loaf. The net result is something to me like a bread-like, very muted spice cake. Will be great toasted.
I own everything because the finished result shown by Andrei (and Yippee, too!) looks so beautiful. If I do it again I would like a means to more tightly control temps, and also, for it not to be such a PITA. Wouldn't want to go through it again on water baths.
-ps: Cracking. I am awed by the perfect crusts of these and so many other E. European and Baltic breads - that pristine, perfect crust. I don't know what cracking suggests or if it's even one thing. I proofed very blindly - don't have a banneton his size for used my long oval banneton an wanted to watch for lip formation. At 75 min., I noticed cracks showing, said "damn," as I expected some cracks on top (yes) and baked it. It split its own massive ear:
-so, yeah, failed. But interesting. Again with better temp control, yep, I'd try again. And I really want to master the crust style in these breads. Any suggestions welcome!
Oh no, sorry you were disappointed! Not having baked it I don't have any specific advice, except probably you should have started from an easier bread until you got it right lol! But considering you say you got somewhat gummy crumb and the crust got cracked, I'd guess it was underfermented - which would also explain the meh flavour.
And overall regarding the crust - first of all, I understand your awe of the smooth and shiny dark crust, I think it's so beautiful. That's the main reason I like to bake hearth rye loaves. But to get it, everything needs to happen just right. Andrey has a whole page dedicated to this problem (in Russian - I am not sure if there is an English translation of it somewhere) - https://brotgost.blogspot.com/2016/02/bezpodrivov.html. Took me a few tries to avoid any cracks. You first need to have the shaping spot on without any irregularities on top or the sides, and all seems on the bottom. Then you need to have perfect proofing - underproofed bread tends to burst. And finally you need to have perfect baking conditions, in particular baking the first 10 min or so (depending on the recipe) at high temperature is very important to form a strong yet elastic "shell". Moistening the surface before baking is very important for that too. And additionally, application of the liquid dough paste before baking helps a lot with it, but it's not a panacea against some other serious issues I suppose. Also, not quite clear in the pictures - did you dock the final dough like he should in the video? Not just a few holes on top, but also the characteristic shape of this bread, not sure how to explain it in words. I guess this would help against cracking.
I think you didn't have any cracks on the bottom or along the sides? The main reason for those is not sufficiently preheating the baking stone, or not being careful when placing the dough on it.
These are fantastic technical notes, thank you Ilya. Oh no - not disappointed at all, I knew going in it was a bit nuts to start with such a difficult bread. Mostly I wanted to play with the different fermentations because I have done so much cheesemaking in my life, with thermophilics and mesophilics as well, wanted to go through it. In particular, when I saw him put the thermophilic starter on the scald, the starter immediately intrigued me, in particularly knowing the starter involved red rye malt, which has really piqued my interest. So, all good. I think I'll keep working on a standard Riga rye until some of the basics are better in place.
Thanks again for the technical notes because I see step-by-step where I went wrong, or I just have limitations on equipment that will probably rule out some things. Firstly, my oven seems to be maxed out at 260C.
Google Chrome is pretty cool for me in that it translates Russian-English no problem. Though sometimes I know it' just a goofball literal translation that's wrong, and other times I wonder. Title:How to bake rye bread without exploding
260С should be fine. My oven claims to go to 270, but I never checked and doubt it actually does (overall it seems to run a little cooler than stated, just because all recipes tend to take a tad longer to cook than recommended), and that has never been a limit (except for pizza, arguably, for which the hotter the better, but still the results are great).
OK, I think I'll try a Riga rye in the next week or so too, we can compare notes! Need to work out a CLAS recipe, or try the old dough version... I hope barley malt instead of white rye malt would be a fine replacement, I only have the former (and not going to buy any other long-lasting ingredients before moving to a different country soon!). FYI I think Riga Rye is supposed to be trickier than whole grain breads like Borodinsky. Let's see.
Ha! Well, the bread does sort of explode :) The word for crust cracks indeed has the same root in Russian as for explosions.
Um...yeah, let me just stipulate to the bench "I lose, your honor." You'd smoke me in a massive way, my friend, lol. So in terms of "comparing notes" it would be more like "...and Ilya, on that part you nailed and I tanked utterly, how did you...and...then....but....OK, then....'
So, um, yep. Be prepared for a very uneven exchange!
Thanks on the note re oven heat. I recall mariana said somewhere this is fine as well. I was just going off Rus's comment on needing the initial blast at 570, I think it was. But I see elsewhere he says an oven needs "at least 260," can't recall the page.
just incase. :)
Your link still leads to the Russian version mini. But there is a Google translate button on the website in the top right corner, where one can select any language.
Yep, works for me like that, in Chrome. I wish I could read Russian but I have to believe "How to Bake Rye Bread without Exploding" cannot be topped, lol.
try tossing in some chunky English walnuts. Helps to round out the young flavour. Excellent with soft smelly cheeses. Or butter and blue! :)
Sounds excellent, will do. My family is always urging me to put stuff in the loaves - perfect timing, it seems!
I love the way this one came out so will do another one with the walnut. Thanks again!
tastes more buttery. You decide what you like, I go back and forth between raw and/or roasted. Roasted are more likely to burn on the dough surface, so when using roasted/toasted, I pick off any exposed nuts after shaping and tuck them into the seam under the loaf or just push them in deeper. For outside, obviously, use raw nuts as they roast during the bake.
The loaf above that came out so heavy, try again with walnuts, My oven doesn't get above 240° C on a good day. 220°C works for me. The crumb looks wet to me, walnuts do absorb moisture after the bake and return it slowly back to the crumb as it ages. So wait the 24 hrs after the bake before slicing.
You can tell a lot about a rye dough as it rises. Pay attention to the smooth surface of the skin and focus on any bumps caused by bubbles underneath rising to the surface. Bumpy (unless it's a starter) is not a good sign.
For a starch glaze, Don't be afraid to make it thinner than most recipes. Think slightly thickened water. ( If you have just boiled peeled potatoes, that potato water run thru a sieve is wonderful glaze.) Use a large brush 4-6 inches or wall paper brush. If you make a starch glaze and thin with boiled and cooled water, you can glaze before or after baking.
Can also glaze with a thin brushing of whole milk on the hot baked loaf. If brushing the raw dough with milk let it dry first before baking or risk matt surface blobs and streaking. Fun huh? My tips for the day. :)
Great info, mini, many thanks. A lot of practicable, great techniques.
This is also greatly appreciated; the way to monitor rye dough development:
Wheat v. rye, then, is obviously different in this way. Could you explain why - why a smooth surface is a good sign, while fermentation bubbles rising to the surface like this is a bad sign - i.e., why is that a bad sign?
The pentosan framework is too weak to hold in the CO2? It was either abused in mixing or shaping, let's say, or is overproofed (stretched past it's limits - I'm guessing. Can't imagine gluten breakdown under too much acid is all that relevant, right?)